You have always been my Miss Independent... ready to go off and adventure the world, but over lockdown I have seen how much you crave adult company. How much joy it brings you just to sit near me and chat away as I work. How good a friend you are and how helpful you have been with the younger children. I am so grateful for your caring and gentle nature, and though you absolutely know how to wind your younger siblings up something horrific (and somehow come off as the angelic, innocent party), you are a wonderful big sister to them, and it brings me joy to see them recognise that and appreciate it.
You are curious and intellectual. You love to study and understand things. Gradually I see you transitioning out of the world of imaginative play (though Heidi will keep you well and truly grounded in that camp for a little bit longer) and would rather have your nose in a book (fiction or non-fiction - it really doesn't matter!) or chatting away to your sister or your friends. You love a project - a theatre script you're working on, a new novel, a club for your friends and sister to be part of, a show for your siblings to act out. You're a natural leader, and a loyal friend, and you are so comfortable in your own skin. I love that about you.
One of the most precious things to me over the past couple of weeks has been every morning, as you've appeared in my room, armed with your bible and your little box of post-its and highlighters and set yourself up at my desk. I love watching you developing your own habits, and to see the Lord revealing His truth to you without Papa and my input.
We pray on your 9th birthday, that as you enter another year, as school restarts and you step out of our home again, as you devour stories and invent new ideas... we pray that you would keep routed and grounded in the One who wrote the greatest story ever told. The One who invented and created all things, who is overseeing the narrative of a world that seems in chaos right now, but is nonetheless still working towards the conclusion He has prepared. The One who cares for you and loves you far more sacrificially than any of us could ever conceive of loving another...
The One who has held you these nine years, and who we pray will go with you every step of every day you walk this earth until one day, we pray, you'll hear the words
"Welcome home, good and faithful servant"...
We love you Ava M - happy birthday sweet girl! We're so excited to celebrate you today!
Mama and Papa xxx